Coimbatore sees growth in air passenger traffic

With the number of flight movement at Coimbatore International Airport going up since May 2014, there is hope on the air connectivity front for the region.Â

Apart from the two international flights (Air Arabia and SilkAir), about 25 flights operate from the Coimbatore International Airport. The number of flights taking off from Coimbatore on a day is 23 in the domestic sector.Â

These flights directly connect Coimbatore to New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Bangalore and are also connecting flights to Pune, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and Bhubaneswar.Â

Thus, the number of domestic passengers making trips from and to the Coimbatore International Airport (CIA), which had seen a drop during the last two financial years, is expected to see a growth in the current financial year (2014-2015).Â

According to Airport Authority sources, domestic passengers account for more than 90 per cent of the passengers using Coimbatore International Airport.Â

Apart from IndiGo, SpiceJet, Jet Airways already having Coimbatore in their map, Air Costa launched its services here earlier this financial year with three flights connecting Coimbatore to Bangalore, Hyderabad and Vijayawada on a daily basis.Â

IndiGo also increased its operations from five flights a day to seven in November last year. With this increase, the airport is now having on an average 25 movements a day (including two international connectivity) from the average 20 movements in 2013-14.Â

The main traffic is in the flights to Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. The airport is at its peak of activity in the morning and evening.Â

Impact of slashing of air tariff is also cited as one of the reasons that could boost domestic passenger traffic.

On the other hand, the officials hinted that there could be a marginal drop in the number of international commuters using the airport.

According to statistics, international commuters from and to the airport has been steadily increasing from 2009-10 to 2013-14.

Officials said that nine international flights take off from the CIA in a week.

This includes four flights a week to Singapore by SilkAir and Air Arabia’s five flights a week to Sharjah. An AAI official said that in December 2013 and January 2014 SilkAir made one more additional trip a week to Coimbatore during the holiday season. However, it did not do so this year.

A senior official also said that a couple of international players have applied for operating flights from Coimbatore to Dubai and Malaysia.

He said that they are pending clearance from the Minister of Civil Aviation and Ministry of External Affairs.

Though international flights were operated from Coimbatore from 2000, CIA was declared an international airport only in 2012.

According to statistics available with the AAI, 12,95,977 passengers were flown from and to Coimbatore in 2013-14, including 11,76,428 domestic and 1,19,549 international passengers.

“In the first three quarters of 2014-14 (from April to December 2014), as many as 11,07,707 passengers have used CIA.

The number of passengers who arrived and departed from the Coimbatore Airport during this period is 85 per cent of the total passengers in 2013-14,” Airport Director D. Paul Manickam said.

source Hindu

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